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John Reischman & the Jaybirds

Field Guide – 2004 (Copper Creek)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by John Reischman & the Jaybirds

John Reischman & The Jaybirds put together a delightful blend of sounds on their latest. As a whole, this CD fits well into mainstream bluegrass, but you hear a variety of influences including mountain and old time music.

Bass player Trisha Gagnon provides excellent lead singing on heart-touching songs like "In The Darkest Hour" and "She Could Have Loved Him." Other band members step in to sing and one of the highlights is their rendition of the old Carter number, "Darlin' Nellie" with Jim Nunally singing lead. The band is tight with each instrument having its distinct voice in the mix. The interplay between instruments and voices is excellent and the arrangements varying and interesting. Instrumentally, they shift effortlessly from middle-of-the-road bluegrass ("Arrowhead") to mountain music ("Crooked Man") and show they can drive a song with "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town."

Whether it's a traditional number like "Little Willy" or the self-penned "Over the Levee," there's not a throwaway track here. The Jaybirds just get better with each new release.